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by Tim Regan — March 11, 2016 at 12:20 pm 0

It will soon finally be possible to enjoy a cocktail or a cold beer while sitting outside at All Souls (725 T St. NW).

A representative for the bar tweeted that workers broke ground for a new outdoor patio yesterday. “We’ll keep you posted, but hope to be open this summer,” the tweet reads.

(more…)

by Tim Regan — August 7, 2015 at 10:50 am 0

All Souls rendering

Applause rang out at last night’s ANC 1B meeting at the Reeves Center after the commission unanimously approved a settlement agreement regarding a long-debated and proposed outdoor patio at Shaw bar All Souls.

The bar’s plans for an outdoor patio at the corner of 8th and T streets NW previously ran into some heavy opposition from neighbors, reported Short Articles About Long Meetings in February, March and April.

According to a July post on the All Souls Facebook page, the bar has already been approved for a public space permit by DDOT, pending technical changes.

The room seemed to tense when Mark Ranslem, 1B-08, spoke up after a motion to approve the settlement agreement was put forth.

“I know they put a lot of work into this,” he began. “And I’m very happy.”

The commission then voted unanimously to approve the settlement agreement.

Commissioners broke out into laughter, applause and sighs, seemingly relieved to put the long-debated issue to rest.

“I had a big speech planned,” joked commissioner Brian Footer, 1B-01. “Put the speech away,” responded commissioner Dyana Forester, 1B-06, to more laughter.

The Shaw bar’s next step will be at an ABRA protest hearing on Sept. 9.

Image via Facebook.com/allsoulsbar

by Bryan Doyle — June 9, 2015 at 3:00 pm 0

Interfaith PridePeople from different faith groups across D.C. will come together tonight to discuss and reflect on the intersection between LGBT equality and racial justice at the 32nd annual Capital Pride Interfaith Service.

The service will feature spoken word, live music, poetry and contributions from church leaders representing a wide variety of the District’s faith groups.

The service lasts from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church  at 1500 Harvard Street NW.

Speakers for the evening include Lisbeth Melendez-Rivera, Religion and Faith Program Director of Latino and Catholic Initiatives at the Human Rights Campaign, and Rev. Cedric A. Harmon, co-director of the Baltimore-based Many Voices.

“In this moment it should be clear that racial justice and LGBT equality are interrelated parts of the long struggle for civil and human rights for all people, ” Rev. Harmon said.

The interfaith service is part of the wider Pride Week, which culminates this weekend with the Capital Pride Parade on Saturday and the Capital Pride Festival on Sunday. Borderstan.com will be in attendance.

The service is by Center Faith, a program led by volunteer coordinators of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, with contributions from faith organizations all across the city.

“All Souls is excited to host this year’s Interfaith Pride Service,” said Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies, the senior minister at All Souls Church. “Everyone is welcome”

by Borderstan.com — July 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com

"DC bar"

RAMW urging neighbors to attend council meeting . (Luis Gomez Photos)

The DC Council will hold a July 12 hearing on proposed changes to DC liquor licensing. The new bill, scheduled to be introduced at the hearing, is sponsored by Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7).

Recent licensing battles in the neighborhood, such as those with Hank’s Oyster Bar and All Souls, have caused quite a stir and have produced numerous opinions from local residents. That is why the  local organization is encouraging residents to support new regulations that change the licensing process.

Currently, groups of at least five or more people can protest the licenses of local establishments and cause lengthy delays in the approval process or force businesses to sign restrictive Voluntary Agreements (V.A.’s) in order to move forward. Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, the Metropolitan Police Department and community organizations (with a formal membership vote) can also protest license applications and be parties to V.A.’s.

This new bill, however, changes the proximity requirement for protest groups, requiring protestors to live or own property within a 400-foot radius from the business, instead of the current 600-foot regulation, among other changes.

The hearing starts at 11 am, and will take place in room 412 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Anyone wishing to speak at the hearing must be added to the witness schedule. To do this, contact Malcolm Cameron at mcameron[AT]DCCouncil.com or (202) 724-8191.

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by Borderstan.com — June 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm 9 Comments

How many people should be allowed to protest a liquor license and force a Voluntary Agreement? (Luis Gomez Photos).

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com

Last week we asked readers to take a poll on the extent to which neighbors should be able to control the liquor licenses of local businesses. The results are in, and 80% of you said, “No, it should be more than five people,” while 9% of survey respondents said that “Yes” five neighbors is enough to warrant the protest of a liquor license before the ABC Board. The Other option (with comments) was selected by 10% of respondents, with details below.

After all, it’s already been a heated summer between local establishments and the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board. (Read our recent posts on All Souls and Hank’s Oyster Bar. You can also review the current DC laws and regulations for liquor licensing in the city.)

Currently, just five residents living up to 600 feet away from a restaurant or bar with a liquor license can bring a case to the city’s ABC Board, and ask to negotiate a Voluntary Agreement (V.A.). These are used to set certain limitations on the business, often to limit hours of operations as well as outdoor seating. (See page 180 of the DC code.)

This contentious law enables some neighbors to fight to maintain what they consider the a certain quality of life. At the same time, the process can also obstruct local businesses — even if the overwhelming majority of surrounding residents approve or simply don’t mind.

So we asked readers, should just five residents have this power to bring cases to the city’s ABC Board, or should that number be increased? Interestingly, about 10% of respondents selected “Other” response for their answers. Here is a summary of what these respondents said. Most thought protests and V.A.’s should only be between businesses and governmental bodies:

  • Only ANCs (Advisory Neighborhood Commissions) and/or local government organizations should be able to bring a case to the ABC Board.
  • Business owners should enter into Voluntary Agreements (VAs) with a public entity, not private complaints, such as ANCs or the Metropolitan Police Department.
  • The number of people filing a complaint should be dependent on the population density of the neighborhood. For example, if only five people live in the vicinity of the license applicant/holder, then a complaint is warranted — but if only five people out of hundreds or thousands living within 600 feet of the business, then they should not be allowed to protest the license.

This past week the troubles surrounding All Souls dwindled, while the drama overwhelming Hank’s Oyster Bar continued. An online petition in favor of Hank’s was posted on June 18 and has already received about almost 1,700 signatures.

The petition calls on the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration Director Fred Moosally, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham and and DC Mayor Vincent Gray to change the law and end the ability of a small number of residents to hold up liquor licensing.

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by Borderstan.com — June 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1 Comment

All Souls entered into a Voluntary Agreement with neighbors for its 725 T Street NW location. (Tom Hay).

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com

As the story goes in DC, obtaining the necessary licenses to open a restaurant business can be a long process.  — especially when dealing with a liquor license from DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). And for local restaurant entrepreneur, David Batista, this battle seemed like an impossible win. (Also, check out Schools and taverns can coexist at Greater Greater Washington.)

This past spring, Batista made the evening news with his efforts to open a neighborhood bar near 8th and T Streets NW. However, these efforts were quickly halted when neighbors of the (currently abandoned) 725 T Street storefront opposed Batista’s business venture.

According to the ABC Board’s “Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order,” some of the opposing neighbors are worried about noise, increased drug activity and public drinking, while others are worried about decreased property values, parking and the proximity of the bar to Cleveland Elementary School.

Despite these grievances, the Board sided with Batista on June 20 and granted him a Retailer’s Class CT License for his bar, All Souls, as well as a Voluntary Agreement (VA) with area neighbors. Not green to the DC restaurant scene, Batista’s previous restaurant experience includes managing Jose Andres’ Jaleo and Zaytinya. All Souls is expected to open in the fall of 2012.

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by Borderstan.com — March 20, 2012 at 10:00 am 3 Comments

"Borderstan" "all Soul"

7th and T Streets NW, future home of All Souls. (Tom Hay)

From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? Send him an email at Tom[AT]borderstan.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Tomonswann..

Following on the heels of recent press releases of new restaurants and bars in the neighborhood comes the inevitable protest hearings on the granting of a liquor license by DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).

One battle, over a planned bar near 8th and T streets NW, has made it to the evening news. WJLA reported on neighborhood opposition to entrepreneur David Batista’s effort to open All Souls in a now abandoned storefront at 725 T Street NW.

Neighbors interviewed in the report cited the proposed tavern’s proximity to Cleveland Elementary School across the street as the cause for concern. The report indicates that Batista has agreed not to serve alcohol during school hours, but the protesters are not satisfied.

Batista is represented by Andrew Kline who guided Jamie Leeds through the effort to expand Hank’s Oyster Bar in 2010. The ABRA hearing before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board for All Souls is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21 at 4 pm. ABRA offices are located in the Reeves Center at 14th and U Streets NW.

Protest Over Kuller’s New Asian Themed Place at The District

Speaking of 14th Street… the liquor license application for Mark Kuller’s Southeast Asian themed restaurant at 14th and S Streets is being challenged by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B, subject to a voluntary agreement (VA) to address parking and hours of alcohol service on their outdoor patio. The vote to protest the application occurred at the ANC2B March meeting. Kuller’s latest venture is a few blocks north of his popular Estadio restaurant, and will be part of the large JBG apartment building currently under construction. The restaurant will be located in the portion of the project that includes the preserved facade of the former Whitman Walker Clinic building. The setback along the S Street facade will allow for outdoor cafe seating for 40 people.

It will be interesting to see if the restaurant’s location causes any reaction among S Street residents regarding hours — the 1400 block is entirely residential with row houses. There was pushback last year when a restaurant wanted to open on the 1400 block of T Street in the old Post Office Building.

Residents and community associations frequently protest license applications in the hopes of securing VAs with operators. The VA typically addresses concerns over hours of operation, trash and noise.

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